Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just venting

Good Morning!  I have an incredibly busy day today and am just “venting’ this morning so that I can clear my mind of some unpleasant emotional residue from the weekend so that I can go about my day. Registration is open at the college and I’m booked solid with appointments today and I’ve been given the privilege of speaking tonight to the Harrison Women’s Association about my weight loss miracle. I cannot possibly be effective at anything today if I don’t start the day with a sense of peace and focus. So… I’m venting….sharing some hurts in an attempt to just empty myself of negativity. No response or comment needed, sometimes we just need to “vent.”
What an emotional couple of days it has been. Actually, it has been a difficult week or so. The unexpected death of my neighbor/friend has hit me harder than expected, and the stress of work and the responsibilities of life have been a bit overwhelming, leaving me mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. On top of all of this, I allowed an insensitive remark from a family member to just about totally rob me of the peace I am trying desperately to maintain. Apparently, she disagreed with a decision I made this weekend, and made it a point of letting me know it.
I was invited to go out of town for the weekend to celebrate my uncle’s birthday, but I changed my plans at the last minute when my friend passed away and some other important needs surfaced that needed my immediate attention. Certainly, I didn’t spend the weekend “having fun” or “wasting time.” Time is something that I have much too little of these days, and in all honestly, I’m burning the candle on both ends, working long hours, sleeping only a few hours a night, and barely keeping my head above water. Stress has become a very unhealthy way of life. I really need to slow down a bit in the near future. I made the best decision I could under the circumstances, but it didn’t meet her approval. It’s amazing how easy I can let someone ‘push my buttons” and threaten to sabotage my emotional well-being. Likely, it was because my guard was down due to exhaustion and sadness.
I’ve thought a great deal about this incident since yesterday and am trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings without immediately lashing back in anger. “Old Theresa” would have immediately unloaded with a barrage of negative comebacks from an arsenal of pent-up anger and then drove through the McDonald’s drive-thru window for a supersized value meal. “New Theresa” walked away, cried in the privacy of her vehicle and prayed.  We always have 2 choices when someone upsets us: Either let it get to us (which I did for the rest of the day and into the night) or let it go (which I am attempting to do right now.)  Lashing out in anger or rationalizing our choices does no one any good whatsoever. All it does is cause me to waste what little time I have with negative thinking. Nor does spending a great deal of energy trying to “justify” anything to anyone. Certainly, I am sorry if I let my family down and gave the impression that ‘other things/people” are more important than they, but what is done, is done, and if I dwell on the reality that “someone else disagrees with me” for any longer, it will likely just threaten to rob me of any of the blessings which God has waiting for me this day. I have too many other things to do today. I have students to see, people to inspire, and a speaking engagement this evening!
I am a firm believer that all things…good or bad, happy or sad, are opportunities for God to teach me something, and last night, when I couldn’t sleep because I was dwelling on this incident, I tried to think about what I could learn to help myself and others. This is what I’ve come up:
  1.      I am a caring person and I don’t typically choose my own personal satisfaction/gain over the needs of others around me, so I really need to “let this go” not allow anyone to try to “guilt” me into doing what they think I should. After all, I didn’t spend the weekend getting a manicure or lying around watching movies, but rather helping others and offering support. You, too, may have ‘hurts, resentments, anger, jealousy…..all sorts of unresolved emotions” that you need to let “go.” Hanging on to negative feelings contributed to my obesity years ago and could be at the root of any struggles you encounter on a day-to-day basis. Easier said than done, I know, but “letting it go,” forgiving, and moving on, is so crucial to personal and spiritual growth. 
  3.     I cannot live my life according to the “value system” of anyone else. Nor can you. Each of us has to find peace in ourselves and our decisions, and we cannot stand in judgment of others. In terms of each one’s personal journey….I can’t judge the behavior, eating habits, or actions of any one against my own. Too many times a person who has lost a lot of weight, given up drinking or smoking, or even gone back to college, has the bad habit of trying to make everyone around them “feel bad or guilty” about themselves. I don’t EVER want to do that, but rather be a source of support and encouragement for anyone who seeks my help. Each person needs to live according to his/her own values and make decisions accordingly. Don’t let the thoughts of your mother-in-law, family members, friends, co-workers, etc. determine your behavior. Remember, others may try to “guilt you” into your old habits… “Why do you have to go to the gym…you’re never home”…. “Why do you need to go to that support group meeting”…. “Why don’t you ever make dessert anymore”…. The list goes on. Have you heard the “whys” or felt the guilt?  
  5.       Don’t let emotions sabotage your well-being and become an excuse to binge, drink, spend, lash out…whatever. As soon as I got in the car after the funeral, I wanted to eat and scream, neither of which would have done me any good. I did, however, call another family member and immediately begin to apologize if I hurt any of them by not attending, but at the same time, I cannot change what happened. Likewise, NO ONE knows what other factors played into my decision. Likewise, no one knows that personal battles or burdens that you carry with you on a daily basis.  The next time you encounter a check-out lady that you perceive to be rude and crabby, or a teenager with an attitude, stop to think that there may be a reason they are acting that way…a reason that is immediately visible. Perhaps, the lady’s teenage daughter just came home and told her she was pregnant, or the teen’s parents told him this morning they were getting a divorce. We just don’t know the ‘whole story.” Only God knows our hearts. Be kind to yourself…and to others.
  6.       The most important reminder to me is: We cannot judge others…their motives, their actions, their lifestyle….their choices. No one knows another person so well as to know everything that is going on with the person and every thought. When I was 400+ pounds, the whole world judged me. They immediately saw the “outer obese Theresa (how could they not, it’s kind of hard to hide 400 pounds)” but no one, not even my significant other, closest friends and family members could see the hidden pain I kept inside. Anyone who deals with a weight or addiction issue knows what I’m talking about. The looks, the stares, the rude comments, the way people treat or exclude you, are all forms of judgment. Sometimes we judge those who are struggling financially as ‘lazy” or ‘a dead-beat” that is unwilling to find a job, when in reality, there may be more to the story. Maybe he/she quit a job to take care of a dying family member and has been unable to find another. We are quick to point the finger or cast blame on those who are struggling with a broken relationship. Perhaps the other spouse was unfaithful or abusive. We automatically assume that those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are just “weak’ or “selfish.” Maybe the person is trying desperately to escape the mental horrors of war. No one but God can see into the hearts of those around us.
In terms of your own personal journeys, be aware that sometime you are going to make decisions that are best for your well-being and you run the risk of upsetting someone. Don’t let it sabotage you or cause you to “give in” to temptation. Sometimes, you are going to have to give up some invitations if attending an event is going to be a source of great temptation and will become a stumbling block. You are going to have to give up a few “nights with the guys/girls” if you are trying to spend more time with your family to repair relationships with a significant other or your children.  You are going to have to give up fast food and pizza if you are trying to lose weight. You may even have to give up some of your old friends if they are unwilling to support you or contribute to your new life. And sometimes….sometimes….your decisions will not meet the approval of those around you. BUT…you know what….fortunately, in the end, you have to answer only to God and to your conscience.  Don’t let….(hear this Theresa????)....Don’t let…anyone sabotage your peace of mind.  Make it a good day everyone….and THANK YOU…for allowing me a ‘safe place” to share my thoughts! I am blessed beyond measure!